The 11 Most Interesting Books I Read in 2019

Ready for a massive download of high-quality book recommendations?

Hey again! Welcome to another digest of Just The Good Parts.

Every week I unpack the best things I’m learning in this newsletter and a podcast to help you level-up as a maker, marketer, and leader. 📚

If you’re finding this series valuable, consider sharing it with a friend! 😊

Share


This Week’s Podcast: The 11 Most Interesting Books I Read in 2019

In this episode, I looked back over my past year of reading to pluck out 11 books that stand apart from the rest.

You're practically guaranteed to find at least one book from this digest that deserves a spot toward the top of your reading wish list.

What I’m Reading

Always Hungry? by David Ludwig, MD

Annoyed with pseudo-science fueled crash diet books? Same here. If you’re like me, You’ll appreciate this rational, research-backed explanation for sustainable weight loss by an endocrinologist. It’s a great counter-punch to anyone who argues people should “just be more disciplined” to lose weight because a crucial point is missed.

Eating less isn’t a silver bullet to weight loss. You have to eat the right kind of food. Yeah. I know it seems obvious, but it’s a distinction that’s more important than most people think. And this explores the implications in detail.

Here’s the skinny: Simply cutting calories doesn’t work if you’re trying to lose weight permanently because your body plays defense by lowering your metabolism.

Traditional wisdom suggests all calories are created equal, but that’s actually not true. Eating sugary and carb-heavy processed foods like white bread catapults your blood sugar on a roller coaster journey that ends with you feeling hungrier than you would on less processed foods.

One memorable study compared 3 subjects who ate the same amount of calories in two meals of oatmeal, but each received a different kind: Instant oatmeal (highly processed), Rolled oats (somewhat processed), and steel-cut oats (less processed). Then the participants were allowed to eat whatever they like from a buffet. Participants who ate the highly processed Instant oatmeal experienced more dramatic blood sugar spikes and hunger cravings which lead to them eating dramatically more — more than twice as much —than eaters of the steel-cut oats who experienced slow-and-steady digestion.

The book advocates points you to some practical diet guidelines. Increase the quality of your diet by eating more unprocessed foods. Avoid carbs in favor of fats and proteins.

The Best Things I Found Last Week

📚Must-Read Books From Drift’s Leadership Team

I’ve read about half of these book picks and they’re fantastic. Other titles I hadn’t considered like The Last Lion and The Principles of Product Development Flow went straight onto my Amazon wish list.

🔥 How a Janitor at Frito-Lay Invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

You’ve gotta love this guy. His hustle, hard work and courage prove that you don’t need to wait for the “perfect” opportunity. Your next iconic move is probably staring you in the face already (if you’re brave enough and resilient enough to chase it down.)

Montañez was 26 years old. In his words, he couldn’t read or write very well and had no knowledge about how to formulate a business proposal.

But he wasn’t about to give up.

Accompanied by his wife, he went to the library, found a book on marketing strategies, and copied the first 5 paragraphs word for word onto transparencies. At home, he filled 100 plastic baggies with his homemade treats, sealed them with a clothing iron, and manually drew a logo and design on each package.

On the day of the presentation, he bought a $3 tie — black with blue and red stripes — and had his neighbor knot it for him. As he gathered the bags, his wife stopped him near the door: “Don’t forget who you are.”

🤑 The Price Is Right (When You Kill Sacred Cows)

Most marketers and product people aren’t thinking enough about optimizing their pricing strategy. This piece deftly nails the context for the urgency behind optimizing your monetization strategy when the cost to acquire customers has jumped 60% over the past 5 years.

💼 How To Get Into Product Management (And Thrive)

One of Airbnb’s former Product Leads boils down his best lessons to help you determine:

  1. Do I want to be a product manager?

  2. How can I land my first PM role & skill-up to be successful?

Without a doubt, the best overview on the topic I’ve read for inexperienced newcomers considering a PM position. I wish I would’ve found it during my first week working in product for sure.

***

That’s it for this week! If you found this valuable, check out the podcast at justthegood.parts and consider subscribing to this newsletter if you haven’t yet:

I’d love your feedback to make this better next time around. Just give me a shout.

Cheering for you!
Matt